In 1792, William Murdoch of London, England created the first gas lamp in his home. By 1802 gas lamps were presented to London as the light source they had all been looking for.
Gas from coal was transported through pipes to gas lanterns and lamps placed on posts. The Lamplighters were workers who cared for the lamps, lit them every evening and extinguished them every morning. First London, then Paris, and finally the United States were surrounded in the glow of the gas lanterns. Baltimore was the first city in the United States to get gas lighting in 1816 which quickly moved along the coast to light the city of Charleston. Though gas lighting is no longer prominent, gas lamps can still be seen in places that wish to keep historical authenticity.
From Upper King to South of Broad, the flickering flame of gas lamps can be admired on any night in the Lowcountry. Gas Lamps were designed in elegant and attractive manners in the past and are still held to those standards today
Here’s 11 interesting facts about gas lamps in London –
- There are still 1500 gas lamps in London. They don’t need lighting every night, but the timer that lights them automatically needs adjusting every fortnight to keep pace with shorter or longer days.
- Before timers, lamps were lit with an 8ft long brass pole with a pilot light – last used around Temple 1976.
- Gas lighting first appeared in Pall Mall in 1812, thanks to Frederick Winsor – originally with wooden gas pipes. This unfortunately resulted in a lot of explosions and a few deaths.
- The oldest lamps near Carlton House Terrace have George IV’s initials on them.
- Westminster Abbey cloisters are lit by gas. The oldest lamp is in Dean’s Yard, near the group entrance, fixed to the wall. This has been there for 200 years as a gas lamp, and before that as an oil lamp.
- The Mall has electric lights on the park side and gas on the St. James’s Palace side – the original road.
- Near the Queen Mother statue which was dedicated in 2009, there are modern gas lamps as the Royal family refused to have electric ones – “the Royal family is very pro gas”.
- British Gas gets several months’ warning of State Visits, as lamps around Buckingham Palace are altered to be on 24 hours a day during the visit.
- There is a new row of lamps near Trafalgar Square. The base of the column is an old cannon, which has a hole down the middle, originally for firing, now for the gas pipe.
- The new arcade development in Covent Garden has gas lamps at special request of the architect.
- Carting Lane beside Savoy hotel has a sewer gas lamp which burns 24 hours a day. It draws up sewer gas with the heat of the gas flame. Sewer gas is then burned as it reaches the flame. It was erected to keep sewer smells away from the hotel bedrooms!
At Gas Lanterns & Lights, we specialise in gas lamps and lanterns at an affordable price, shop today!